Crunch and Healthy Cranberry - Almond Granola BarsHere’s my shot at a step towards being a bit more healthy with snacking. It can’t be all cheese-filled snacks and processed foods all of the time, I guess. (Though, I sure wouldn’t mind always having a big batch of chicken wing dip on hand, just in case.) I was looking around for some healthy snack ideas that would be quick and easy to eat before a trip to gym or at 10 AM, when my fruit and yogurt breakfast has well-worn off, and I’m already thinking about digging in to my lunchbox. At times like this, I’m just looking for a little pick-me-up, a quick burst of energy to get me through the next few hours. Enter in these healthful granola bars.

This particular recipe creates a crunchy bar, and its jam-packed with some pretty nutritious ingredients. I’ve been doing some research, so let’s take a look at the lineup!(Disclaimer - I’m not an expert, nor do I claim to be. I google things to learn more about them, just like you. So click on the ingredient name if you’d like to dig deeper.)

  • Almonds - these nuts are chock full of vitamins and minerals. There’s vitamin E, riboflavin, and calcium, to name a few. Plus they also have protein and fiber, which help you feel more full.
  • Dried Cranberries - these dried fruits are a fairly healthy snack option as they’re low in fat and contain fiber.  The sugar in dried cranberries is all natural instead of being pumped with artificial sweetener.
  • Pepitas - these little seeds are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. They’re also high in protein, and the better-for-you monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Pepitas are also a great source of minerals like manganese, magnesium, and iron, which help keep your body working.
  • Ground Flaxseed - These little seeds are all the rage, in my book. They have plenty of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, so it’s thought that they may reduce the risk of many life-threatening diseases. We’ve been incorporating a few tablespoons into most of our breakfasts lately. Try topping off some yogurt with a tablespoon or blending it up in a smoothie.

Crunchy, Healthy Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars

Holding this crunchy granola together is a mixture of coconut oil, pure maple syrup, and light brown sugar. Despite the two sources of sugar, I don’t find these granola bars to be overly sweet. In fact, they’re more savory and salty. And, they’re way better for you (and more filling too!) than, say, ripping open a big bag of potato chips when the salty and crunchy craving comes along. I think these nutrient rich bars are perfect for a pre-gym snack – they fill you up, provide a blast of energy, and won’t slow you down during your hour spin class.  Who would have thought I’d enjoy eating such a healthy snack? Don’t tell Mr. Big Flavors, but I might be starting on a granola kick here.

Cranberry-Almond Granola waiting to be cut

Crunchy Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars

Serves 16
Prep time 35 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
From magazine Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cups whole raw almonds
  • 3/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (plus more for coating the baking pan)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread out oats and almonds onto a baking sheet, in a thin and even layer. Bake oats and almonds for about 15 - 20 minutes. Turn oats and re-spread onto the pan every 5 minutes or so. Once oats are golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.
2. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees. Brush a large mixing bowl with coconut oil. Place oats, almonds, cranberries, coconut flakes, pepits, ground flax, and cinnamon in the bowl. Stir to combine all ingredients.
3. In a saucepan, add oil, maple syrup, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissove the sugar, then let mixture come to a boil over medium low heat. Once mixture is foaming/boiling, immediately remove from the heat and pour on top of oat mixture. Stir to combine all ingredients.
4. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on the long edge. Brush coconut oil over the parchment paper. Spoon granola mixture into the baking dish. Spread out in an even layer, and gently press granola down. Bake for 10 minutes, turn pan in the oven, and continue baking for 15 minutes more.
5. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack, until granola is completely cooled. Use the parchment paper to lift the granola out of the pan. Cut into bars using a large santoku knife. Some granola will inevitably fall off while cutting into bars, so save this and mix it into some yogurt for a quick snack!
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7 Responses to Crunchy Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars

  1. Ohhh, nice recipe! I love granola bars, almost as much as I love hot sauce! lol Have a good week!

  2. These look so good! Perfect for my breakfast!

  3. Melissa says:

    These look so delicious! =)

  4. Claire says:

    Do you think that these NEED the last step of baking or would they be just as good without?

    Thanks for a yummy granola bar (my husband thanks you too)!

    • I would bake for a least a few minutes as the coconut oil mixture is sticky and I’m not sure how well it would dry without baking. If you didn’t want to form and cut into actual bars, and just use the recipe as loose granola, I think you’d be fine without the second bake. Let me know how it all turns out!

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